Love is... Part One

Five weeks ago today I received a 6:52AM call from my wife’s neurosurgeon telling me my sweetheart was gone. Her seven-month long battle for survival was over, but my world crashed and is still smoldering. Two words came to mind that morning, but I have waited until now to put “Love Is” into the blogosphere.

My wife and I were married June 19, 1982. Our love then was real but it was rather immature, undeveloped. Love needs time to grow and to be tested before it matures. Although I came from a two-parent home with three sisters, I was a lightweight when it came to understanding the ways of a woman. My wife was beautiful and talented in every way. To this day I think I got the better end of the deal, but both of us had a lot to learn relationally, as do most couples.

Love is PATIENT! I have never thought of myself as overly patient, and I had a lot to learn in that department – nothing major, just a lot of the little stuff of life. I am very logical and practical, but I fell in love and married a woman who was my opposite in many ways. Over time we found our stride and balanced each other quite well. Young love is sweet to watch, but it can get a bit messy before it matures. 

In my case mature love learned to think before I spoke. Mature love taught me that listening is better than winning an argument. I found that mature love is grounded in actions backed by loving words, and a truly romantic evening starts not hours before, but days, weeks, and months before. I learned, as strange as it may sound, to love my wife the way she needed me to love her - not as I needed to be loved.

Mature love is patient and patience is something that I had in short supply over the many months of her stay in the hospital. I found myself yelling at cars (from inside my car) that weren’t moving fast enough, “Move it! Don’t you know my wife is in ICU?”  Yet, my wife, day after day and week after week, when conscious and able to talk, was patient with the hospital staff and with me. She was called sweet Sue by the medical staff. She often commented on how tired I looked, saying she wished she could take some of the pressure off me. Love suffers and love hurts together.

I don’t know where you are in life, nor do I know where you are in loving the people in your life with a mature and patient love. You may be young and love with patience. You may be older and still not have found how to be patient. Life is short! There are no guarantees of tomorrow. My wife and I had something very special and those who knew us knew we had something rare. I think it started with learning how to love patiently, but in the quietness of that morning after she died, I hoped I had been patient to the end.

Stan Means
Elder Source Senior Ministries
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